Germany’s oldest party was founded in 1875, and is described as "center-left". It roots in the 19th century labor movement.
The SPD is the second largest party in terms of voter support, but the largest in terms of membership. Its voter base is the working class in urban areas. SPD icon Willy Brandt was foreign minister in the first "grand coalition" government with the CDU 1966-1969 and then became the first SPD chancellor.
Germany's political parties targeted SPD candidate Martin Schulz during their annual, insult-rife Ash Wednesday rallies. Schulz fired back in a speech, calling out "ultra-nationalism" and Merkel's conservative union.
For the first time since Martin Schulz was named as the SPD's candidate for chancellor, the party has lost momentum in an opinion poll. The SPD has dropped one point, while support for the CDU and AfD held steady.